Nationals

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Chris Paul had 30 points and 13 assists, Blake Griffin added 24 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way in beating the Lakers 107-102 on Friday night.

Kobe Bryant scored 38 points and Dwight Howard had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who lost for the second time this season to their Staples Center co-tenants.

Bryant carried the Lakers in the fourth quarter when they closed to 99-97 on his 23-foot jumper with 1:29 left. But Paul scored the Clippers' final eight points to seal the victory and drop the Lakers two games below .500. The Clippers lead the Lakers by 10 games in the standings.

The Lakers continue to struggle under new coach Mike D'Antoni. They've lost three of their past four games.

The Clippers shot 50 percent and dominated the paint, 52-36.

Bryant scored 16 points in the fourth, when the Lakers rallied from 19 points down. The Clippers fouled for much of the final 5:51. Howard missed two free throws but then made two to get the Lakers within four before Bryant's jumper left them trailing 99-97.

BULLS 96, HEAT 89

MIAMI (AP) - Carlos Boozer scored 27 points and Chicago dominated on the boards to become only the third visiting team to win in Miami this season.

Chicago outrebounded Miami 48-28. The Bulls had 19 offensive rebounds to four for the Heat.

The Eastern Conference-leading Heat fell to 15-3 at home. Their other home losses came against the Knicks and Warriors.

Miami's LeBron James scored 30 points, extending his streaks of scoring at least 20 points to 31 consecutive games this season, and 52 games in a row overall when including last year's playoff run. He has scored at least 25 in eight consecutive games.

The first meeting between the teams this season was a bruiser, and the Bulls repeatedly outfought and outfoxed Miami on the boards. The Heat had won four games this season when outrebounded by 15 or more, but this time the disparity beat them.

NETS 115, WIZARDS 113, 2OT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Joe Johnson's jumper with 0.7 seconds left in the second overtime lifted Brooklyn over Washington.

Bradley Beal's two free throws tied the score at 113 with 9.1 seconds to play before Johnson, who had 18 points, hit the shot that improved Brooklyn to 4-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Brook Lopez had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Nets, and Deron Williams added 24 points and 10 assists.

Beal had a career-high 24 points. Jordan Crawford scored 23 points and Nene, who fouled out in the first overtime, had 20 for Washington, which lost its fourth in a row and is now 4-27.

After Martell Webster's jumper gave the Wizards a 106-104 lead to begin the second overtime, Gerald Wallace made a layup and Keith Bogans converted a three-point play and a layup for a 111-106 lead with 3:21 to play.

Beal hit a 3-pointer as the first overtime ended to tie the score at 104. It was the second time Washington extended the game at the horn. Nene hit a hook shot to tie it at 93 in regulation.

THUNDER 109, 76ERS 85

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Russell Westbrook scored 27 points, Kevin Durant added 26 and Oklahoma City bounced back from a rare home loss to beat Philadelphia.

Oklahoma City made eight of its first 10 3-point attempts in the second half and never trailed after scoring the final five points before halftime.

Serge Ibaka chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds and Kevin Martin had 16 points off the bench for the Thunder, who haven't lost consecutive home games since dropping two of the first three to start the 2010-11 season.

Nick Young led Philadelphia with 21 points, and Jrue Holiday had 15 points and nine assists. The Sixers fell to 2-5 on their eight-game road trip, which started before Christmas and concludes Saturday night at San Antonio.

CAVALIERS 106, BOBCATS 104

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Kyrie Irving scored 33 points, including a pull-up jumper from the foul line with one second left, to lift Cleveland over Charlotte.

Irving had 14 of his team's final 16 points and 26 points in the second half as the Cavaliers snapped a three-game losing streak.

Irving was 10 of 21 from the field and converted all 10 free throws while scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter. He also had six assists and five rebounds.

Tristan Thompson added 19 points and C.J. Miles added 18 for the Cavaliers.

Ben Gordon led Charlotte's second-half charge, finishing with 27 points.

Ramon Sessions added 20 points and Gerald Henderson had 17, including a career-high four 3-pointers for the Bobcats, who have lost 19 of 20.

CELTICS 94, PACERS 75

BOSTON (AP) - Kevin Garnett scored 18 points before he was ejected for a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak.

Rajon Rondo added 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Boston, which had lost eight of 10 to fall a season-worst three games below .500. Garnett also had seven rebounds.

Tyler Hansbrough scored 19 points and David West and Roy Hibbert had 10 rebounds apiece for the Pacers. The Central Division leaders had won six of seven and nine of 11.

The Celtics used a 17-3 run in the second quarter to take control of the game.

PISTONS 85, HAWKS 84

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Austin Daye had a season-best 20 points and Detroit earned its fourth consecutive victory.

The Hawks, who trailed by as many as 19, had the ball in the final seconds, but Andre Drummond blocked Lou Williams' jumper at the buzzer to preserve the win.

The Pistons have won six of seven overall, with the only loss coming in double overtime at Atlanta. The second unit has powered the surge, outscoring the starters in several games, and the reserves outscored Atlanta's backups 41-14, led by Daye.

Josh Smith had 20 points for Atlanta, while Al Horford had 18 points and 15 rebounds.

TRAIL BLAZERS 86, GRIZZLIES 84

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Wesley Matthews scored 21 points, J.J. Hickson added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Portland beat Memphis.

Rudy Gay's jumper from near the top of the key was off the mark, allowing the Trail Blazers to escape a closely played game that saw nine ties and 21 lead changes.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Portland, while Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard added 11 points apiece, Lillard also handing out eight assists.

Marreese Speights had a season-high 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies in place of Zach Randolph, who missed the game with flu-like symptoms. Gay had 19 points, but was 8 of 21 from the field.

Marc Gasol scored 12 points and had a career-best eight blocks. Darrell Arthur contributed 10 points off the Memphis bench.

KINGS 105, RAPTORS 96

TORONTO (AP) - DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 31 points and matched his career high with 20 rebounds, John Salmons scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and Sacramento beat Toronto.

Jason Thompson scored 14 points and Isaiah Thomas had 11 as the Kings won their second straight road game. Sacramento had gone 1-13 away from home before winning at Cleveland on Wednesday.

The Kings have won six of eight overall following their second five-game losing streak of the season.

Kyle Lowry scored 24 and Ed Davis had 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who came in having won eight of nine and a season-best five straight at home.

Alan Anderson scored 20, DeMar DeRozan had 14 and Jose Calderon added 13 for the Raptors.

JAZZ 87, SUNS 80

PHOENIX (AP) - Al Jefferson scored 21 points and Paul Millsap added 19 to lead Utah past slumping Phoenix.

Gordon Hayward added 14 points off the bench for the Jazz, who have won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 5-12.

Utah was without center Enes Kanter, who sprained his right ankle in a win Wednesday against Minnesota.

Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix. Goran Dragic added 17 points, but only six after the first quarter.

ROCKETS 115, BUCKS 101

MILWAUKEE (AP) - James Harden scored 29 points to lead Houston over Milwaukee.

Harden shot 11 of 18 from the floor to go with seven assists and four steals for Houston, which has won 10 of its last 13 games.

The Rockets, who shot 54 percent from the field, also got 22 points from Carlos Delfino in his return to Milwaukee. He played for the Bucks from 2009-12 before signing with Houston as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

The Rockets' Jeremy Lin was taken to the locker room with 10:34 left in the third after the left side of his head was slightly bloodied after he collided with the right cheek of Milwaukee's Larry Sanders as the two scrambled for a loose ball near half court. He returned to the bench with just under 3 minutes left in the period and started the fourth quarter.

Milwaukee equaled a season worst by losing its third game in a row despite 16 points from Brandon Jennings.

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What to watch as Nats continue three-game series against Marlins

What to watch as Nats continue three-game series against Marlins

This is the Nationals’ first time in Miami this season, and the team finished with a 3-2 loss against the Marlins on Friday night. Here are a few things to look for as they enter the second game of the three-game series against the Floridians: 

  1. Friday night’s situational hitting was poor, NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas reported. The Nats left 10 runners on base in a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins.However, the Nationals’ offense has changed this season. This was exemplified in Friday’s series opener against the Marlins, in which both Adam Eaton and Victor Robles bunted to get hits.
  2. Eaton singled on a bunt in the first inning, eventually scoring on a Juan Soto RBI single, while Robles also reached base safely in the third following Eaton’s strategy and then stole a base. These creative plays helped get men on base, but again, more often than not they stayed there. Brian Dozier hit his second home run of the season in the seventh inning, a solo shot which gave the Nats their second and final run of the night. Dozier had a rough start to the season, and after Friday’s game, he has just two RBIs – both via solo homers. He has a batting average of .182, and he’s lost playing time to Howie Kendrick as the season has moved forward. Kendrick has a batting average of .477, the highest on the roster.
  3. Anthony Rendon continued his hit streak, extending it to 17 games with a double Friday. This is the longest hitting streak in the MLB this season, as well as the third baseman’s personal record. Within the organization, Rendon is chasing Hall-of-Famer Heinie Manush’s record, which stretched to 33 consecutive hits in 1933. Can he get another on Saturday?

 

Download the MyTeams app for coverage from NBC Sports Washington of the Nationals/Marlins game on Saturday. The game broadcast will be at 6:10 PM ET on 106.7 the Fan and MASN2. 

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Middling Anibal Sanchez and quiet bats do Nationals in against Marlins

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Middling Anibal Sanchez and quiet bats do Nationals in against Marlins

The Washington Nationals lost to the Miami Marlins, 3-2, Friday night to drop back to 9-9. Here are five observations from the game...

1. For all the offseason efforts at improvement, winning the National League East could come down to its one member which is trying to lose.

The four spenders each play Miami 19 times. By the end, going 11-8 against the in-the-tank Marlins may become a lamentable part of some team’s 2019 legacy. They either brought in a marquee pitcher, a generational outfielder or a former MVP third baseman. But they didn’t do enough against the Marlins, costing themselves the single, taut playoff spot that emerges from the division. It’s a viable storyline to project.

The Nationals took their first negative step toward that fate Friday in a 3-2 loss to the Marlins.

The situational hitting was poor -- Washington left 10 runners on base. The starting pitching was so-so -- Anibal Sanchez took the loss. The bullpen made one dire mistake -- Matt Grace’s first pitch hit left-hander Curtis Granderson with the bases loaded, forcing in the decisive run. The luck wasn’t great -- Caleb Smith, a quality left-hander marooned in Miami as the staff’s best pitcher, was on turn. Anticipate him representing Miami at the All-Star Game this season.

Brian Dozier homered. Mark that in the positive column. Joe Ross pitched two innings of quality relief. Put him next to Dozier.

Otherwise, the loss was sigh-worthy for a team trying to lurch forward, ending its up-and-down run of the first three weeks.

2. Another day, another hit for Anthony Rendon.

His sixth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 17 games, the longest in Major League Baseball this season. It’s also an extension of a personal best for Rendon.

Rendon’s 15 extra-base hits in 17 games is a Nationals/Expos record.

Who is he chasing for the organization’s hit streak record? Hall-of-Famer Heinie Manush, who hit safely in 33 consecutive games back in 1933.

Manush played for the Senators from 1930-1935. He hit .336 when he set the Washington record for consecutive game with a hit. He led the league in triples (17) and hits (221) that season.

Manush won a batting title in 1925 when he hit .378 for Detroit. Rendon is currently hitting .377 in the opening weeks of the season.

3. Sanchez was ok. Not great, not terrible. Just ok.

He lasted 5 ⅓ innings, allowed five hits, three earned runs, walked four and struck out six. His ERA is 4.91.

Regression for Sanchez this season was expected. His 2.83 ERA in Atlanta last season came strongly against the current of his previous pitching. Sanchez had a 5.67 ERA over the three prior seasons.

However, this has been a leap back, a full two runs in arrears of last season’s ERA. More troubling than the ERA is Sanchez’s path through lineups. His walk rate is up, his strikeout rate down.

As the season moves along, a comparison point for Sanchez will be the results of left-hander Wade Miley in Houston. The Nationals made a multi-year offer to Miley which was better than the offer he eventually settled on with the Astros, according to a source. Miley ended up signing for just one year in Houston because the free agent market went south, and Washington quickly pivoted to Sanchez. Keeping track of the two via ERA-plus (which accounts for park factors) during the season will be a fun exercise. Coming into Friday, Miley was by far the better pitcher in that department, 129 to 95. Another bloated outing from Sanchez only increased that gap.

4. The Nationals hoped to play a different brand of offense this season. They wanted to deploy more athleticism, using speed and contact to produce runs.

They took the idea to the extreme Friday. Adam Eaton and Victor Robles both bunted for hits. Eaton scored Washington’s first run after reaching base via his drag bunt up the first base line.

Robles stole second and ended up on third following his bunt in the same direction in the third inning.

Creative work at the plate for both.

5. Another bullpen twist hit Friday. Austen Williams was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a sprained right AC joint. Austin Adams was called up to replace him.

Williams had a disastrous outing Wednesday in the Nationals’ 9-6 win over the Giants. He allowed four earned runs -- on two home runs -- after the Nationals entered the ninth inning with a 9-2 lead. Williams’ inability to get an out in the ninth eventually forced closer Sean Doolittle into a game he never should have entered.

Doolittle’s entrance also complicated the current series in Miami. He pitched back-to-back games to close the series against San Francisco. His Friday availability was in question because of that, though the Nationals didn’t end up needing him.

The right-handed Adams, 27, joins the team from Triple-A Fresno. He struck out 12, allowed a hit and didn’t give up an earned run in his six innings with the Grizzlies.

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